A bus driver has spoken exclusively to The Enquirer telling of the constant verbal abuse and threatening behaviour he faces on a daily basis doing his job.
The driver, whose route takes him across east London, finishing in Stratford, spoke about the horrors and challenges he and other drivers deal with driving buses across east London.
“There is a continuous stream of people across Newham who don’t want to pay their fare and as a result we can’t let them on so they often start a confrontation.
At times these can be violent and we have to call the police. Other times the rest of the passengers gang together and force them off the bus. It’s not just one person who tries this but a tidal wave of people everyday who get on the bus and give us endless excuses why they don’t want to or can’t pay.
This can often end in very confrontational situations where we have no choice but to call the emergency services. It is making our job a nightmare.”
The driver who could not be named said: “The excuses they come up with are endless, things like having just come out of prison, or hospital or just having being mugged.
“We then tell them I’m sorry you have to pay or you get off and of course the threatening behaviour then starts. I get spat upon regularly, verbally abused and insulted and then I have no option but to call the police on a regular basis.”
“Some days it’s a barrage of people who don’t want to pay, you tell them to get off the bus and you know then the abuse will start. Some people hit the protection screen we have, others start a bombardment of verbal abuse, calling us all the names under the sun. Being a bus driver today is very stressful and many drivers leave because of these reasons.”
Recent figures by the BBC showed that four bus drivers a day are attacked in London and many more are verbally abused everyday.
“We work long hours and most of us enjoy doing our job as drivers but we are finding it harder and harder with the increase of people who want to board the bus without paying and start trouble for us. Yesterday, I denied a passenger to mount the bus as he point blank refused to pay to get on.
“He then started swearing at me, then he started to threaten me, he then spat at me and started hitting the barrier we have in front of us. The rest of the passengers got angry and ganged together to get him off but he still refused, so at this point I had no other option but to call the police. This is not a rarity but sadly a scenario that happens to all us drivers everyday. It’s getting worse and worse.”
GLA Conservative Representative Keith Prince told The Enquirer “No one should be subject to abuse or violent threats when doing their job, especially when they’re serving our communities. Sadly as crime has soared so to have the number have the number of stories from bus drivers, cabbies and ordinary Londoners of aggressive behaviour going unchecked.
“I feel the London Mayor is shockingly complacent when it comes to rising crime. Instead of utilising the resources available to him to fight London’s crime epidemic, he has chosen waste at City Hall over keeping Londoners safe.”